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North American theatrical release poster
Directed byMathieu Kassovitz
Produced by
Written bySebastian Gutierrez
Music by
CinematographyMatthew Libatique
Edited byYannick Kergoat
Distributed by
Release date
  • November 21, 2003 (2003-11-21)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$40 million[1]
Box office$141.6 million[1]

Gothika is a 2003 American supernatural psychological horror thriller film directed by Mathieu Kassovitz and written by Sebastian Gutierrez. Halle Berry plays a psychiatrist in a women's mental hospital who wakes up one day to find herself on the other side of the bars, accused of having murdered her husband. The film was first released on November 21, 2003, in the United States. Gothika grossed $141.6 million.


Dr. Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) is a psychiatrist who works at the women's ward of the Woodward Penitentiary, and has a car accident after trying to avoid hitting a girl standing in the middle of the road during a stormy night. She rushes to try to help the girl. Miranda wakes up as a patient in the hospital where she works, and receives treatment from her colleague, Dr. Pete Graham (Robert Downey Jr.). Drugged and confused, Miranda has no memory of what happened after the car accident.

She is horrified to learn that her husband, Douglas (Charles S. Dutton), was brutally murdered and that she is the prime suspect. Miranda heartily denies her involvement in the attack, though she continues to be accused of the murder, even by her husband's best friend, Sheriff Bob Ryan (John Carroll Lynch), who verbally assaults Miranda and demands to know why she killed her husband. While Miranda copes with life in the hospital, She sees the girl from the road who at one point carves the words "Not Alone" into Miranda's arm, which leads her former colleagues to believe Miranda is suicidal and is inflicting the wounds on herself.

As a patient, Miranda bonds with fellow inmate and her own former patient, Chloe Sava (Penélope Cruz). Several times in sessions with Miranda, Chloe claimed that she'd been raped while in the hospital, but she had always attributed these stories to mental illness. One night, the door to Miranda's room in the hospital is opened. When she passes Chloe's room in the hospital, she can hear the rape occurring, and momentarily sees a man's chest pressed against the window. The man's chest bears a tattoo of an Anima Sola. Miranda realizes that Chloe was not making up these stories and, when she sees Chloe the next day, she apologizes and the two embrace. Chloe warns Miranda that her attacker said he was going to target Miranda next.

Miranda begins regaining some of her memories bit by bit and slowly comes to remember killing her husband. She realizes that the girl she encountered on the road was a ghost who had used her body to murder Douglas, thus making Miranda the patsy for his murder, which explains why all of the physical evidence points to her. Miranda, along with Pete, tells the whole story to hospital director Phil Parsons (Bernard Hill), who also doesn't believe her. As she leaves, she sees a photograph of a girl in Phil's office and recognizes her as the ghost that possessed her. Parsons tells her the girl is his daughter Rachel, who had died by suicide four years earlier by jumping off the bridge where Miranda first encountered the ghost.

After being viciously attacked by the ghost of Rachel in her cell, Miranda escapes from the hospital and begins seeking clues to the mystery of why she killed her husband. She goes to her house and sees the vision of Doug's murder, realizing that she had killed her husband while under Rachel's possession. She remembers Doug going to a farmhouse in Willow Creek, Rhode Island earlier that day and believes there might be a connection there.

However, when she arrives at Willow Creek, the house is vacant. In the cellar of a barn, she discovers a room containing a blood-stained bed, what appears to be a box containing drugs, restraints, and video equipment. She watches the tape that is still in the camera and the viewer hears a woman screaming in horror. In the final seconds of the video, Douglas walks into the camera's shot, covers the woman's lifeless body with a sheet, and begins talking to the camera. At this point, the police arrive and an officer draws a gun on Miranda as she is holding a knife. Miranda backs up to a staircase and an injured girl suddenly grabs hold of her from the adjoining crawlspace. The police rescue the girl, but Miranda is taken to jail.

While in jail, Miranda talks to Phil, telling him that Rachel's death was not suicide and that she had been raped and murdered by Doug. Miranda also believes that "Not Alone" means that Rachel was not Doug's only victim. Sheriff Ryan talks to Miranda about how she came to know these things and Miranda discovers that the real meaning of "Not Alone" is that there was a second killer involved in the murders. Using her experience as a psychiatrist Miranda builds a psychological profile and realizes that Sheriff Ryan fits the profile perfectly. He reveals himself to be the other killer and attacks her, revealing his tattoo, an Anima Sola, during the fight.

As Ryan is about to inject a syringe into Miranda, the lights start to flicker and Miranda is able to turn the syringe on Ryan, drugging him. As he goes searching for Miranda, Ryan, under the influence of the drug, begins ranting that he and Doug had killed before. They then started secretly raping and torturing women at Willow Creek, with Rachel being their first victim. After firing his shotgun Ryan causes a gas leak in the police station and, as he sees Rachel's ghost, fires a shot toward her which causes an explosion and sets him ablaze. Miranda then shoots and kills the sheriff. Just a few seconds later, Pete shows up at the station, worried about Miranda's safety after he solved the mystery himself. He looks relieved to see Miranda safe, and through the soundproof window mouths the words "I'm sorry, Miranda."

Approximately a year later, Miranda is seen walking with Chloe on a city sidewalk, discussing how each helped the other come to terms with her experiences. Miranda claims to be free of the ghost's influence and sends Chloe off in a taxi. Miranda then sees a young boy standing in the middle of the road who appears as though he is about to be struck by a fire truck. Miranda yells for the boy to move, but after the fire truck passes through the boy without harming him, she realizes he was only a ghost.

As Miranda walks away, a poster with the words "Have you seen Tim?" and a picture of the same boy is shown taped to a pole next to the street on which Miranda is walking.



The score's original music was composed by John Ottman. "Behind Blue Eyes" by Limp Bizkit (originally by The Who) was featured in the film but was not available on the soundtrack. The record was released on November 18, 2003 via Varèse Sarabande.[2]


Gothika was released on November 21, 2003, in North America, grossing $19.3 million in the opening weekend and ranking at #2, behind The Cat in the Hat. It went on to gross $59.7 million in the US and $81.9 million from foreign markets for a worldwide total of $141.6 million.[3]


The review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 15% approval rating based on 169 reviews and an average rating of 4.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Berry's acting talents can't save Gothika from its preposterous plot and bad dialogue."[4] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 38 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[6]

A more positive review came from Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times, who gave the film 3 out of 4 stars. He said "the plot is preposterous" but nonetheless felt that stylish direction and Berry's performance made Gothika enjoyable on its own "lurid" terms: "The casting of Halle Berry is useful to the movie, because she evokes a vulnerable quality that triggers our concern. Hitchcock might have wanted to work with her. He didn't cast so much for acting ability as for an innate quality."[7]

Home video release[edit]

The movie was released on DVD and VHS March 2, 2004.



2004 Teen Choice Awards
Choice Movie Actress - Drama/Action Adventure - Halle Berry


2004 Black Reel Awards
Best Actress - Halle Berry
2004 Kids Choice Awards
Best Favorite Actress
2004 Golden Trailer Award
Best Horror/Thriller
2004 Image Awards
Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture - Halle Berry
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture - Charles S. Dutton
2004 MTV Movie Awards
Best Female Performance - Halle Berry
2004 Teen Choice Awards
Choice Movie – Thriller

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gothika at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "Gothika (2003)". Retrieved 2014-05-25.
  3. ^ "Gothika (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  4. ^ "Gothika (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  5. ^ "Gothika Reviews". Metacritic.
  6. ^ "CinemaScore".
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Gothika Movie Review & Film Summary (2003) - Roger Ebert".

External links[edit]